Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sweating in Spanish

I am struggling to learn Spanish from home. I say "struggling" not because it's been super difficult so far, but reminding myself to actually hit start on the program each day is my own personal feat of strength. Rosetta Stone makes a great program, truly. Yet I'm still actively afraid to reach the end of the section, where the program simulates real life situations, with people in them, and I'm expected to dredge up answers to everyday questions. See, I've always talked a little funny. I don't have much problem with it usually, but when I'm reacting to a program, I find I never say anything in exactly the right order. Add in that second language element, and I am a bit sweaty and breathless. Don't remind me that it's just a one-sided computer program. It's embarrassing enough.

My newest illuminating idea was to borrow the Spanish-English dictionary alongside a Spanish-language book from the library, in an attempt to read the book, using the dictionary to translate. One of the things I find difficult about computer learning is that I'm a tactile person. When I write things down, I recall them better. The program incorporates a writing section, but I have no notes to refer to when each section is complete. No way to study. I thought my reference book and a real story to read would help solidify the language in my brain, and I had a notebook and pencil nearby to write down the words I looked up.

The library I chose to visit, however, had only Dr. Seuss books (which we all know have made-up words anyway, rendering my dictionary useless) and a few of the young adult book series' Twilight. If you haven't seen them, they're about 700 pages. I grabbed one of those. What were my options? Reading aloud is really helping, actually, stuttering to myself being far less embarrassing than in a group. But yesterday I spent half an hour looking up every single word in a paragraph and still didn't understand the gist of it. I think Edward's sister Alice has a deceitful face, despite the fact that her countenance is similar to her adopted brother Edward's. Sheesh. It was a brain twister. And I'm only on page five (cinco!).

So. . . I'm reserving a few library books this week, one being the English translation of that same Twilight book. And then we're going to dumb it all down with a few regular children's storybooks. Who am I kidding — these are the books I sit in the kids' section of Barnes and read anyway. Uncle Arthur or no, I do like a good lesson.

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